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The Future of Airline Distribution: Finnair and CWT Forge New Paths with NDC

The Future of Airline Distribution: Finnair and CWT Forge New Paths with NDC

This article covers:

• Finnair embraces NDC with CWT

• Transition from EDIFACT to NDC in Finland and the Nordics

• Amadeus Cytric OBT plays a key role in new booking era

• NDC’s impact on airline distribution strategies

A Milestone in Airline Distribution

In a significant move that marks a new era in airline distribution, Finnair has partnered with travel management company CWT to expand access to its New Distribution Capability (NDC) content in Finland and the Nordics. This collaboration not only stands as a testament to the evolving landscape of airline distribution but also highlights the shift from traditional Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce, and Transport (EDIFACT) to more sophisticated, flexible distribution methods.

Finnair’s integration of NDC with CWT signifies a transformation in how airline products are distributed and accessed by corporate travelers in the region. Jenni Suomela, Vice President Global Sales and Channel Management at Finnair, emphasized the deployment’s importance, stating it as a significant milestone on their path of distribution transformation. This move by Finnair, especially the removal of their last remaining domestic itineraries from EDIFACT distribution in February 2024, illustrates a clear commitment to modernizing travel booking experiences.

The Shift from EDIFACT

The departure from EDIFACT distribution, a standard that has defined airline bookings for decades, underscores a broader industry trend towards embracing technology that offers greater efficiency and customization. Finnair’s decision to pivot to NDC-enabled connections for booking content reveals the limitations of older systems and the growing demand for more dynamic, content-rich distribution channels.

By February 2024, over 90% of CWT’s customers in Finland were already booking Finnair’s content via NDC-enabled connections, leveraging tools like the Amadeus Cytric online booking tool (OBT), as well as through traditional travel counselor-assisted channels. This shift not only enhances the booking experience for corporate travelers but also aligns with the industry’s move towards more direct, transparent, and flexible distribution models.

Embracing New Technology

The Amadeus Cytric OBT plays a pivotal role in the new distribution era, facilitating seamless access to NDC content for travel management companies like CWT. This tool exemplifies the technological advancements that are shaping the future of travel bookings, offering an integrated platform that simplifies the booking process, enhances content accessibility, and improves overall efficiency.

The adoption of NDC and tools like Amadeus Cytric OBT by Finnair and CWT not only demonstrates a commitment to leveraging technology for better distribution but also sets a benchmark for the industry. As airlines and travel companies continue to explore new capabilities offered by NDC, the focus remains on creating more personalized, flexible, and efficient travel experiences for customers.

Charting the Course for Future Distribution Strategies

The partnership between Finnair and CWT, underscored by the successful deployment of NDC content in Finland and the Nordics, is a clear indicator of the direction in which airline distribution is headed. As the industry moves away from traditional distribution methods, the emphasis on technology-driven solutions becomes increasingly apparent.

This transition not only challenges other airlines and travel management companies to reevaluate their distribution strategies but also presents an opportunity for innovation and improvement in how travel services are offered and consumed. The shift towards NDC and the integration of advanced booking tools are not just about changing how bookings are made; they’re about enhancing the travel experience for all stakeholders involved.

In conclusion, the collaboration between Finnair and CWT through NDC represents a significant leap forward in airline distribution. As more airlines and travel partners embrace these technological advancements, the future of travel booking looks promising, with greater efficiency, transparency, and customization at its core. The industry’s journey towards this new horizon of distribution is just beginning, and Finnair’s pioneering steps with CWT provide a compelling roadmap for others to follow.

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